Just a year on from his arrival at Barcelona, midfield ace Paulinho is reportedly on the verge of securing a return to former club Guangzhou Evergrande.
The Brazilian international arrived last August, and despite the initial negativity surrounding his signing which many supporters considered underwhelming having just seen Neymar leave the Nou Camp, he went on to play an important role for Ernesto Valverde’s side.
Paulinho ended the campaign with nine goals and three assists in 49 appearances, helping the Catalan giants to a domestic double by lifting the La Liga title and Copa del Rey.
In turn, it could be considered a successful signing, but he may not opt to stick around for a second year as Mundo Deportivo report that he’s ‘very close’ to re-joining Guangzhou in a deal worth €50m, giving Barcelona a potential €10m profit after spending €40m on him last summer.
Provided that he wants the move which is what is suggested in the report, it would make sense from the club’s perspective as Paulinho arguably can’t be considered indispensable and so the fee that they receive from his sale could go towards bringing in a more long-term option in midfield while representing good value for money for a 29-year-old.
With Sergio Busquets approaching 30 and Ivan Rakitic already passing that mark, Barca would be wise to consider strengthening their midfield with a long-term plan in mind and so Paulinho’s transfer fee could be crucial in making that happen.
It remains to be seen when his potential exit would be completed, as the Brazil ace is currently with the national team at the World Cup in Russia as they prepare for their quarter-final clash with Belgium on Friday night.
Nevertheless, based on Mundo Deportivo’s report, it would seem as though he may be heading back to China in the near future and time will tell how Barcelona opt to fill the void.